Could social media activity be a mental health indicator?

There have been any studies done that indicate excessive social media use can have an adverse affect on users. Besides the addictive properties and the risks of cyberbullies, social media can have a decidedly isolating effect. When we see friends getting married, going on vacation, living the life we want to live…well, that can be a little depressing.

But is it possible that your own social media activity could tell your doctor when your health might be taking a turn for the worse. According to a new study, that just may be possible. By analyzing the frequency and types of photos that users shared on Instagram, scientists from Harvard and Vermont universities were able to accurately predict who was suffering from depression.

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Science may be able to tell which one is suffering from depression – just by analyzing their social media posts

The potential implications are astounding. An app could notify a doctor that a patient may be slipping into a depressive state – before the patient even realizes it themselves. Someone at risk of a mental health illness might be able to receive treatment before they even know there’s a problem.

While it’s possible that social media is causing the problem in the first place, it comes as a bit of a relief that it may be able to diagnose it in the future. It seems that social media is developing a safety net for its users – which seems to make it a friend after all.

Twitter:

Could your social media activity help a doctor diagnose depression? Science says it may be possible http://bit.ly/2vhu5Sq

Facebook:

A new study says  your social media activity may be an indicator of your mental health. How could this be used to diagnose depression in the future? http://bit.ly/2vhu5Sq

 

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4 thoughts on “Could social media activity be a mental health indicator?

  1. What an interesting read Amanda! It’s true people always post the most flattering pictures of themselves enjoying the best moments in life including vacations and swanky parties. I can see how it can cause people to be envious and suffer from low self-esteem and depression, even someone who is mentally strong. And to compound the problem – there are so many internet trolls who hide behind faceless pictures and just spew hate and negativity! How sad!

  2. Amanda, this was an interesting blog. Social media allows us the an instant opportunity to share good news and happy memories with others. However if we constantly brag it can have an adverse affect and can become irritating and annoying. I can understand how others become frustrated with social media. It is interesting to think of all of the studies that are being done to analyze the positive and negative influence that social media has on our mental health.

  3. Hi Amanda,
    Very interesting post. It is interesting to see that our social media activity could give the necessary clues to detect a mental illness, but it is scary to think that the cause of this illness could very much be social media. I think it is very important for users to check-in with themselves and make sure their use of social media is healthy (i.e. by carefully choosing the accounts they follow or knowing what things should and should not be shared on the platforms). I definitely think more awareness materials should be available, especially to youth.
    V

  4. This is a really interesting concept. I wonder what the scientific validity of it is? I’d love to read more studies done on the topic. Did you find any other studies backing up the one that you referenced?

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